Open Mouth, Insert Foot
Jeff Kennett, former Victorian premier and Hawthorn Football Club president, as depicted by Ron Tandberg

A character with a big mouth says something stupid or, better yet, self-incriminating, often with the subject of their commentary standing nearby or, better yet, right behind them. Usually the twin trope to or immediately followed by Did I Just Say That Out Loud? or That Came Out Wrong.

The trope name comes from the phrase "to put your foot in your mouth" (also playfully referred to as "foot-in-mouth disease", a pun on the very serious livestock illness "foot-and-mouth disease").note 

A subtrope of Fee Fi Faux Pas and closely related to Ignore the Disability.

Can lead to any of the following: Change the Uncomfortable Subject, Digging Yourself Deeper, Did I Just Say That Out Loud?, That Came Out Wrong. Sometimes more than one.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Tsurubami Kamome from Medaka Box actually gets kicked in the mouth twice for doing this too often. Not that it hurts him.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Spike is very aware of this trope
    "Open foot, insert mouth."
  • Latvia of Axis Powers Hetalia is prone to this, which is a very bad thing when Russia is constantly hanging over your shoulder. Often closely followed by Lithuania or Estonia's "Latviaaaaaaaaaaa!"
    Latvia: I do feel safer in his hairy arms.
  • Done in epic fashion in Death Note when L asks Light how, as a detective, he would go about trapping Kira, Light's secret Serial Killer alter-ego. Once Light has given L his answer, L "praises" him by pointing out that while it usually takes professional investigators several minutes to even come up with an answer to that question, Light immediately responded with an answer that a serial killer talking directly to the investigators would give.

    Fan Works 
  • Elecktrum's Narnia Fics are full of this trope. One fic revolves around it completely, and another has a chapter revolving around the similar phrase "eating crow." Her OCs and minor characters also get into the act, especially where Edmund is concerned:
    • Tumnus unintentionally insults Edmund by implying that Edmund had worked for the white witch in "The Conscience of the King".
    • In "Black Dwarfs, Blue River" an overzealous faun angrily tells Edmund regarding the persecution of families of some satyrs who fought on the witch's side that the wives and children (who did not fight for the witch) were "Sons of traitors [who] deserve what what they get." Edmund responds cooly: "so what will you call my sons?" Oops.
    • And then there's Ilano's Right in Front of Me moment in "They Also Serve"
  • In the prequel to Respawn of the Dead, Heavy accidentally insults Medic a few times. But, to be fair, it's pretty clear that Medic is only insulted by being told he sounds like Greta Garbo because he has no idea he was practically quoting her.
  • In the Back to the Future fanfic Homecoming, George, not knowing about the age gap between Doc and Clara, asks where "Mrs. Brown" is. He's mortified when he finds out that Clara is Doc's wife, not his stepdaughter, and apologizes profusely.
  • In Kira Sweetheart Light has one of these moments when he discovers that L has been abused in the past.
    Light: WHO did this? Give me their name!
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic "The Model Caretaker" Has Fleur de Lis struggle with this in the first half of the story, especially when Fluttershy is about.
  • From another MLP fanfic, The Rise of Darth Vulcan: Artful Dodger is discussing showering with Eiderdown and starts speaking before thinking.
    You could literally see the words travelling from his mouth, to his own ears, and from thence to his brain. His eyes went round for a second. "Once. One. At a time, that is. Not that there isn't enough room for two. Heh. I mean—- I'll go first, that way you kin take your time. Afterward. By yourself." He literally shoved his own hoof in his mouth to shut himself up. He bit down on his hoof for a second then spoke around it. "G-g-give you time to, uh, pretty yourself up afterward...."
  • The New Look Series has several examples of this trope.
    • Young Link gets in trouble with Peach due to him pretending to be her, mockingly.
    • Kenshin also gets in trouble when he tells Kaoru that he can't understand what Kaoru is going through right now because he isn't a woman like her.
  • This Bites!:
    • During the scene in the palace baths, after Cross finishes telling Nami he has too much respect for her to peep on her, she manages to call him up to the wall to talk to him, only to give him an eyeful of Vivi instead. The first thing Cross comments on is whether she's dedicated with the hair dye. Vivi's stool, meet Cross's cranium.
    • When Cross wakes up from Enel's initial attack and sees Conis, he makes a statement about how he wished he could've seen Enel's face when Luffy kicked the crap out of him, thinking that he missed the whole arc... not realizing he was only knocked out for a second and a very unamused Enel is right next to them.
    • Since Usopp never leaves the crew in Water 7, while acting as Sniperking to try to pretend to be someone braver, he essentially states that 'Usopp' deserted from the mission of rescuing Robin without any significant reason. Luffy is not pleased by the implications.
  • In the Rivals Series Viktor can't help but unintentionally offend Yuuri through unwanted advice or very poor wording which doesn't help Viktor's attempts to get Yuuri to at least tolerate him. Then Viktor starts to develop the opposite problem so Yuuri would at least speak to him.
  • Played for Drama in the The Loud House fanfic A Dark House: Inadequate when Lori, in a fit of anger over some broken perfume, snaps at Lincoln that sometimes she wishes she didn't have a brother. While she quickly realizes what she said and is clearly upset, Lincoln runs off in tears and locks himself in his room, even shouting that no one cares about him when Lori and some of the other girls try to talk to him.
  • My lesbian life with Monster Girls: Monster Yurisume: In chapter 129, Yuisu, overworked and stressed out, chews out Haru for changing her mind about getting printer paper when Yuisu asked and forgetting to tell her, which leads to her declaring that Haru never takes her requests seriously, citing the fact that Haru dyed Hakuto pink after Yuisu literally begged her to stop the prank war as proof. All Haru can think of to say in response is, "That was different. I mean, I had already ordered the hair dye", which really sets Yuisu off.
    Yuisu: Oh, so that's how it is. My heartfelt plea is worth less than a bottle of hair dye.
  • In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, The protagonist Estermann says the following to Lyra, a pony (It Makes Sense in Context):
    Estermann: Because as far as I’m concerned, a pony's only good to be ridden and sliced up for sausage. How the hell am I supposed to make myself a picture of one's 'inner workings'?

  • In Short Circuit Howard theorizes the potential danger of having their laser-armed robot roaming free. The stereotypical Indian guy, Ben, hasn't really grasped the concept of discretion.
    Howard: What if it decides to melt down a busload of nuns? How'd you like to write the headline on that one?
    Ben: Nun Soup?
  • Dragonball Evolution: When Chi Chi reveals that she knows of the existence of ki and states that her name doesn't mean she's an idiot, Goku proceeds to embarrass himself this way.
    Goku: Right. Right. 'Cause there's a lot stupider names than Chi Chi. I'm not saying that Chi Chi's a stupid name. I'm just saying that it's not normal. Ah. But normal is overrated. I'm not saying that you're stupid or overrated. I'm just- I'm gonna stop now.

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    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Spike does this often when he's trying to court Buffy.
    • Invoked by Buffy in "Dopplegangland" when she tries to apologize to Willow (not realizing she is talking to Willow's alternate universe vampire double) for an unfortunate comment earlier in the episode, saying, "You know how my foot likes to live in my mouth."
  • Referenced fairly often on M*A*S*H. In one case, BJ claims Charles has "put a whole shoe store" in his mouth." (That example, interestingly, was incorrect, as Charles had fully meant to offend everyone.)
  • Coupling: A form of Cannot Talk to Women, by Jeff: just about every time Jeff talks to a woman, he manages to do this. For example, this exchange occurs just when things seem promising:
    Lynda: I like kissing, don't you?
    Jeff: Oh, yeah! Especially the tongues part. I love getting all that extra tongue. You know, sometimes I eat really cold ice cream just so that my tongue goes numb and it feels like someone else's... But then we all get lonely sometimes.
  • In Firefly, Simon does it virtually every time he tries to have a conversation with Kaylee.
  • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight: Kit says this trope word to word after unknowingly hurting Chris.
  • In Sherlock, we have Molly.
    Molly: How's the hip?
    Mrs. Hudson: Oh, it's atrocious. But thanks for asking.
    Molly: I've seen much worse. But then I do post-mortems.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: During the 3rd season episode, Hollow Pursuits, Capt. Picard accidentally calls Barclay by his unofficial nickname Broccoli. Data tries to put a positive spin on the situation by referencing psychology but really only makes the situation worse.
  • In one episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche had an epic one. She meets and asks out a man she met in a bar, not realizing at the time (since he was sitting down) that he was blind. When he comes to pick her up for their date, she enters the room, saying things like, "Aren't I the prettiest thing you've ever seen?" and "What's the matter, are you blinded by my beauty?" She finally takes a good look, sees his cane, and stops in her tracks. Sophia directly addresses it, saying, "Want a glass of water to wash down your foot?"
  • JAG: Lt. Bud Roberts falls victim to this fairly often, especially in the pilot movie whenever dealing with Lt. Caitlin Pike. His case of Foot-in-Mouth Disease is particularly unfortunate given that his original job is Public Affairs.
  • NCIS: Jimmy Palmer is very prone to this. He does not seem to have heard the old adage that "a closed mouth gathers no feet". His foot tasting episodes routinely escalate to Digging Yourself Deeper territory.
    • DiNozzo runs afoul of this trope from time to time as well.
  • In Doctor Who, the Tenth Doctor has a bad habit of doing this while talking to Queen Elizabeth I, repeatedly saying terribly offensive or regrettable things under the assumption she was a Zygon duplicate. It gets them married.
  • A Moody Christmas. In the first episode Dan mistakes Cora for a door-knocking Red Cross volunteer because of her shirt, and donates some money. It turns out she is his cousin's new girlfriend, isn't a volunteer, and designed and hand-made the shirt herself.
  • In one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when Uncle Phil makes a remark that offends Vivian, Will quips "I've always known you're a hungry man, Uncle Phil, but both feet?".

  • The cover for Robert Sherman and Al Larsen's album "Smash Flops" (containing such bon mots as Columubs, You Big Bag Of Steam and Watch World War III On Pay TV) has a Virgil Partch drawing of a conductor directing three male singers, each with their foot in their mouth.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Peter from The Four Gospels does this constantly, saying something that he thinks is smart only for Jesus to show him how completely wrong he is. He finally breaks this habit somewhere in the middle of Acts.
  • Also from The Bible: James the Lord's brother spends the middle part of chapter 3 from his own epistle to explain how dangerous the tongue really is.
    Even so, the tongue is a little part of the body and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles. The tongue is a fire, a world of evil. The tongue is among the parts of the body, defiling the whole body, and setting the course of nature on fire, and it is set on fire by hell. (James 3:5-6)

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